144th Kentucky Derby: Odds, predictions for race at Churchill Downs

May 4 (UPI) — Two horses stand out among the 20 set for Saturday’s 144th Kentucky Derby — Mendelssohn and Justify. If they run their races — and there’s no obvious reason to believe they won’t — they’re the picks to finish first and second.

Who’s first and who’s second? It might come down to whether Mendelssohn catches Justify in the long stretch run.

Unfortunately, those are the same two the Churchill Downs oddsmakers see and, pretty surely, the way the money will be bet. So, how to make a buck with those two if things go according to form?

Box the best of the rest under the top two in trifectas. Even if Mendelssohn and Justify do finish 1-2, there will be enough value in the third-place finisher to provide a worthwhile return on the investment.

Consider Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Blue Grass Stakes winner Good Magic and Arkansas Derby winner Magnum Moon. Bolt d’Oro is lurking in the weeds, ready to run a great race. Audible won the Florida Derby and that’s been the road to the roses in recent years.

So: You can get a 50-cent ticket with Justify on top followed by any combination of Mendelssohn, Good Magic, Magnum Moon, Bolt d’Oro and Audible in second and third for $10. That would be 7 with 5-6-11-14-16 with 5-6-11-14-16.

It’s not as complex as it looks. If Justify wins and any of the others on that ticket finish second and third, you win.

Then take Mendelssohn on top of Justify and the others for another $10. That’s 14 with 5-6-7-11-16.

For a few extra dollars, toss in Hofburg, the Florida Derby runner-up, a “wise-guy” horse who does seem to be screaming “don’t ignore me.”

Remember the first rule: Never, ever bet more than you can afford to lose. Just don’t.

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